Q. My fiancé and I are planning to buy his retired mother’s home where we will live. What’s the best way to structure this? J.R.C., CPA, Winter Park, Fla.
A. From a legal perspective, the most common method to use in this situation is a joint tenancy with right of survivorship. Each owner holds an undivided share of the estate. On the death of one joint owner, the surviving owner retains an undivided right to the entire estate, which is not subject to the rights of the deceased’s heirs. Absent other circumstances, this seems like your best bet.
Tip: If you wait until you’re married to acquire the home, you can claim the tax benefits of home ownership (e.g., mortgage interest and property tax deductions) on a joint return.